Author Archives: Mollie West

Ringing in the new year


1389Here it is. The new year. We rang in 2014 reflecting on our past year and pledging for change, right? Again, I’m torn on this tradition. I still love the opportunity for a clean slate, to take the time to focus on life and the distance that I’ve come. On the other, I don’t care much for the connection of the new year dictating these actions.

I can’t help to remember how we spent ringing in 2013. The beginning of the night was a traditional new years celebration, out to dinner and entertainment. After we came home and relieved the sitter, poured a stiff drink, and sat with just the light of our Christmas tree and discussed how difficult our upcoming year would be, and it didn’t disappoint. I don’t remember every feeling so somber and wishing that time would just stop. That 2013 would just not come. I halfheartedly made some resolutions, grasping at any chance I had for control, and tried to perk myself up with the anticipation of upcoming events. Then I had to let go and let 2013 happen.

And it happened. 2013 came hard. Much harder than expected. At the same time, 2013 made me look at life completely differently, and in a great way. The surgeries happened, and all went better than I could anticipate. I was very lucky. My trials and growth came in different parts of my life. I had some amazing gains, mostly in friendship, but some otherwise, and some devastating losses. I traveled more than I ever imagined and was able to reconnect with two people very near and dear to my heart. Not that I circled the world, but having two very young children has hindered my travel a bit. Fortunately, now I know just how important these two women are to me and I vow not to let the distance take over again. Or even to give us an excuse.

In a roundabout way, I totally unintentionally conquered my 2013 resolutions. Entering 2014, I plan to take a much more deliberate approach with myself. I need to become me again. I want that to be my journey. I realized how much I had let that go. Other roles seemed more important – mom, employee, friend, patient, etc. I really feel that my life has taken the course of going through the motions. As time and this blog, my little space in the world, progress, I want to share my 2013 with you. I had planned to do it as I lived it, but became too busy living it. Now I want to take the time for my year in review, post by post, journey by journey. I want to virtually relive each moment and see what a difference a year can make.

I’m still torn on making my resolutions for 2014. If it follows in the footsteps of 2013, it really isn’t going to make a difference. Whatever happens is going to happen regardless of whether or not I resolve it. Not to mention that it will happen however 2014 wants it to happen, not at my request or even my pace. I also don’t want to lose sight of what is important to me. To carve out that little bit of time each year to reflect, wish, hope, and anticipate. Bonus if I get to do that while sipping champagne.

Happy new year! Cheers to the endless possibilities of what it will bring!


Confessions of an early riser


Will sleepingI wake up most mornings around 4:45am. My actual work day begins at 8am, so it is not necessary that I get up this early. I must be a “morning person”, right? Here is the confession…I am not a morning person. Yep, you hear that right – I am not naturally a morning person. I swear, I’m not!  One day it just happened.

I worked in the restaurant industry most of my early adult life. My shifts started late in the day and ended late into the night. I functioned quite well on this schedule and preferred it. Then I started working business hours (8am – 5pm) and thought that I was going to die. To my credit, I still maintained a part-time bartending job during my first two office jobs and would close the bar around midnight, get out around 1am, and then have to be at the office at 8am. It was rough. Even when I quit bartending, I found myself enjoying late nights and hitting the snooze button waaaaaay too many times in the morning. Why oh why did the morning have to come so early?

Then William was born. I came to the realization that there was no reason to try to get him to sleep later into the mornings since I would be going back to work soon. Even then I knew that I was much more pleasant in the mornings than my husband, so my adapting to mornings began. I still wasn’t fully sold on waking up before the sun until after Collin was born. Like magic, one morning, as both sons slept, it all came together. I just happened to get up before the rest of my family and got so much accomplished, including a little downtime for myself. As each person woke up I was excited to greet them into the day and happy that I already had so much behind me. I was genuinely enjoying my family.

This streak continued. The earlier that I woke up, the more things actually got done. When I was a night owl, I’d find myself so tired after a long day that I would just veg out. Waking up early I felt refreshed and ready to tackle my looming to-do list. And the cycle continued.

Now, I’m not a perfect, happy to rise, ready to take on the day (every. single. day) person. I’m not saying that I never stay up too late watching shows that I don’t even care about. Or hit the snooze button one time too many. I even have visions that one day I will sit on my bedroom balcony in the coolness of the morning with a steaming cup of coffee in my hand as I wait for the rest of my house to wake up, but I haven’t made that a reality once.

There are drawbacks, too. I was once alert and ready to take on anything at 3pm, but now as that hour gets closer I can feel my eyelids drooping and I know that I’ll be at my worst for the rest of the day.  I actually go to bed (and try to sleep) at 9:30pm. I feel like I’m 10 years old again sometimes. As tired as I am in the evenings, these precious moments in the morning are still worth it to me to set that alarm for an ungodly hour and greet the day. And heck, now when I go to bed everything is finished. It was before anyone else even woke up. My days start and end with accomplishment.

I chuckle when my friends make jokes about never getting up that early, ever. I smile and nod as I hear someone tell me how they will never be able to become a morning person. I empathize with those trying to change their schedule and attempt this early morning challenge. But I have a secret, I was them. I’ll never tell, though. They wouldn’t believe me anyway.

Good morning and let me know if you want a wake up call 🙂

Ready. Set. GO!


images (2)I never thought that I would say this, but I’m a runner. Nothing is chasing me. No one is forcing me. I go outside and run and it’s actually kind of fun.

It all started in May. I had my revision surgery and a good friend (that I don’t see often enough) took me out to breakfast. I still wasn’t allowed to drive, so it really was a huge treat. As we sat and ate, she told me that she started training for her first 5k in March. I don’t think that she was ever a “runner”. I mean, sure she ran before, haven’t we all taken gym class?

I know a few runners. They are skinny girls that have been running since high school. They ran and kept off baby weight. They ran many, many marathons. And overall, they are very, very skinny. But my friend didn’t fit into either of these categories. She’d never run seriously, especially not since high school. She enjoyed eating during her pregnancy and gained weight naturally, as expected. She had never run a marathon. She continues to struggle with her weight. If this woman in her early 30s could pick up running then why can’t I?

I took recommendations and got fitted for shoes, downloaded the Couch to 5k (C25K) app, found a running partner (who is in her mid-40s and has never run), bought some gear, and by early July I was running. Well, kind of. At least I was not walking.

Everyone told me that the beginning would be brutal, but as I looked through the weeks through the app I couldn’t imagine how running 90 seconds could be worse than running 20+ minutes. They were right. Those first weeks were brutal and thank goodness I was determined. I would barely make it up the steps into my house and collapse on the nearest piece of furniture for as long as possible. My legs would continue to wobble as I went through my day at work. At night I would barely make it into bed, where I would collapse. Again.

I would marvel at runners in our town, going more than mere feet with such ease. Running through town and venturing far from their homes, confident that their bodies would bring them back. Unknowingly, they kept the dream alive that someday I would be a real runner. As I dreamed, I ran. As I ran, my body became stronger. The other day I bounced up my front steps after a 2 mile run.

I still hurt. My muscles still rebel. My lungs still get angry. My body still adjusts. But early this morning, I ran around our town. I ventured a decent distance from my house and ran almost 2.5 miles. I’m getting it. I’m seeing why people do this. I’m 6 weeks into the C25K app (it’s an 8 week program) and I’m signed up for my first 5k on September 28th. I’m excited. Even though I’m not ready, I’m not there yet, I know I’m a beginner and I’m still excited.

Each day, each run makes me one step closer to being a real runner. For the beginners, it’s true. 90 seconds in the beginning is so much worse than 20+ minutes in the end. Stay with it – you got this! And if you need encouragement or motivation, leave a comment. I’ll be there for you. Ask my running partner – I actually hit her once so that she would keep going (and she did). I’ll try not to use physical violence with you, though.

Ready. Set. GO!

Summer lovin’, had me a blast!


imageThis summer has been wonderfully, unexpectedly crazy. I’ve gotten to travel and not only visit some wonderful people that I don’t usually get to spend time with, but also have a few adventures with them.

I look at all of the first day of school pictures posted and realize how quickly summer is winding down. Summer used to be my absolute favorite season. Hot days that included swimming, relaxing, and seeing friends. No stress, no responsibility. Now as an adult, I’m unable to disregard the daily activities of life for three months, autumn has worked it’s way up to favorite season. The smells, flavors, and loved ones birthdays and anniversaries are plentiful. Not to mention football season. Something about the chill in the air and the colors surrounding that make me want to be a outside and a part of it all.

This autumn so close, I want to catch up on posting summer so that I can move on to thoroughly enjoy the season. This summer was too well, wonderfully, unexpectedly crazy not to share, with Hunger Game tours, Madhouse Masquerade, adventures in running, roller derby gals, and other great times to come. Now hopefully life can slow down a bit to fully enjoy my favorite time of year.

Just like that…everything is different


Jamie and MattI’m going through one of those times when life just doesn’t seem to make sense. It is unfair and heartless and I wish that I could revert back to a much younger age when it’s more appropriate to throw myself on the floor and take out my anger through a tantrum. I feel lost. I feel heartbroken. And I have no idea how to get any relief from this pain.

Whenever I am amidst a tragedy, I hate doing something “normal”, like grocery shopping. My mother died the day before her 50th birthday and we had already planned a tea party (by her request) to celebrate. Invites were accepted and friends had cleared their busy schedules to be there with my mom. After her death, my sisters and I decided to continue with the party and celebrate my mom’s life along with her birthday. We went to the grocery store to do the necessary shopping and I still remember standing in the produce department looking around me and getting angry that everyone was just carrying on with their lives while my heart was destroyed. I know that this is a somewhat crazy and definitely irrational response, but I just can’t help it. I’ve noticed this reaction every single time something life shattering happened to me. That’s when I know how severely I’ve been affected, at that moment of anger.

This weekend I was forced into the store again and as I was making my way through the aisle, listening to the general movement of a group of shoppers, it hit me again. And again I was angry. Everyone seemed so happy, enjoying the weather, making the most of their Sunday, and I stood there feeling broken, alone, and miserable. Some things just don’t make sense. Bad things happen to good, deserving people. No one and nothing can be of comfort.

I miss my mom


946858_407515752690539_1630103804_nLast month was the 11th anniversary of my mom’s passing. Every year this day makes me reminisce. This year I realized that it was a lot harder. Time has passed and worn these memories down to faint and even nonexistent. For some reason my mind has attached to the days before her passing with very limited memories before that time. Only the outstanding moments, the incidences that make my mom stand out as a mom, remain easily recallable.

I can’t remember my mom’s voice. I don’t remember how she talked or her body language. I can’t easily recall her smell or the feel of her skin. I can’t tell you how hard she hugged or how soft she kissed. I can’t even remember advice or encouragement. I can’t remember how it feels to make her proud or even to let her down. So little is left.

I have to admit that it’s tearing me apart that this happening. I know how time works and I’d be lying if I didn’t expect this to happen, but what I hate most is that these memories aren’t being replaced by new ones. I don’t have any recent hugs to recall or words of wisdom to reflect on. I don’t feel like I have anyone left that is always on my team, my unconditional cheerleader. Every time a memory slips away, I feel like a piece of mom is gone.

Last night Collin refused to sleep. This is strange for him. He refused all of my “tricks”; rocking, singing, reading, rubbing, nothing was working. I tried sitting in his bed, sitting beside his bed, leaving the room, again, nothing was working. Finally completely annoyed with no more tricks, I sunk in the rocking chair in his room with nowhere else to go. Faster than I could blink, Collin was curled up in my lap looking up at me with those big grey eyes like his protest never happened.

I couldn’t help but to wonder how many times I was curled up on my mom’s lap studying her face, how many moments we had together. I know that Collin won’t remember this night, just like I don’t remember those nights with my mom. It is one of many for him, though. As we rocked, I took the opportunity to smell his hair, touch his soft skin, and feel his weight on my lap. I know that this memory will fade for me, as well. When he graduates from high school, I won’t be able to easily recall his weight, his smell, or his softness in the months before he turned two.

The only comfort that I have is knowing that these memories will be replaced with the many to come in the future. He’ll soon be forming words more accurately and I’ll forget the cute sound of his “no”. He will grow into a man and I’ll forget his pudgy toddler body. His large appetite won’t be so laughable when it starts seriously increasing our grocery bills. It’s exciting to see him grow into an amazing person, even with my current memories being the cost.

As much as it pains me, I feel like all I have left is to create my own mom memories. It’s as much for my boys as it is for me. The one thing that I can be sure of is that she was an amazing mom. My goal is to make my kids say the same about me, no matter how their memories work.

Keeping it real


IMG_2119I mentioned the “Momma Derby” a little while ago. It was a concept that has been forming in my head for quite some time that I just couldn’t quite explain outside of my head. During my recovery in January, I discussed with two of my very close friends, also moms, my idea. They both immediately knew what I was trying to say. At the same time, my roller derby playing sister was visiting. My conversations with her revolved around all things roller derby, so with that fresh on the mind, we coined the concept the “Momma Derby”.

The original idea is simple. A place for moms (or parents) to safely bond in a judgment free zone over bad moments but to also rejoice in those moments of pure genius. Within our small group we began immediately.  Usually through text, we share among ourselves our stress and our joy. Sometimes we even keep score (kids – 1, me – 0) in true derby fashion. I think that we all took comfort in each other’s journey, finding similarities within ourselves.

Then another mom that had no idea we were doing this took it to a new level. She has an amazingly adorable 1-year-old daughter and took a picture of this little cutie mid-tantrum. She then proceeded to post this picture of facebook with an explanation that most have a tendency to present our best in our status updates, so this was her attempt to bring a bit of balance. Seriously brilliant. Not long after, a mutual friend took a picture of her little girl during a meltdown and also posted it on facebook with an explanation of keeping it real.

Now the “Momma Derby” has evolved to “keeping it real”. Although these were two moments of struggle, I still also want to celebrate our moments that even we are amazed by our own parenting. I thought that I would feature one of my little guys throwing a huge fit as my first keeping it real moment, just to share the love. Then, as we’ve been doing for months, I received a text from one of my fellow “Momma Derby” moms, and immediately as I read it I knew that this was it. A moment of genius.

A preface.  This is a mom that I completely admire.  She is more engaged with her children than anyone that I’ve personally met.  She makes the effort to parent and not control her children, something that I continually struggle with.  And she does not sit around all day drinking.  So it surprised me when I received these texts today, but I couldn’t help cracking up when I read them.

Keeping it real #1
Wednesday at 11:47am, I received a picture of a beer (featured above)
Wednesday at 12:07pm, I received this text:
I’ve totally started beer today because I’m doing potty training with R (youngest son) and I need something to remind me to take him into the bathroom often. So I need to make myself go to the bathroom often! Lol

There you go fellow moms. This is one that I’ve never read in the potty training chapter of the parenting books. Our first keeping it real moment. Enjoy!

Please feel free to share your moments of insanity along with your moments of triumph.  We’re all in this world of parenting together, so let’s keep it real.